Elizabeth's Tilbury speech
Tension between Elizabeth I of England and Philip II of spain was building up in the 1580’s and these two
leaders led to be very much so in a cold war with one another, leading to the Spanish Armada war in 1588.
There were multiple reasons to why Elizabeth had fallen into disfavor with Philip, being her refusal to his proposal to unite the two strong kingdoms.
Elizabeth supported Sir Francis Drake’s attacks on Spain in the Caribbeans making Spain lose a cargo of gold and 1.5 million ducats
Sent Leicester (covertly) to fight Spain in the Netherlands in 1585.
religion that England was a Protestant and Spain was Catholic
The last drop was Elizabeth killing her rival Mary Queen of Scots (spain could control england through her) of whom Philip saw as the true heir to the throne triggering the Spanish to invade England.
Whilst the English troops were preparing on land, there, in Tilbury, Elizabeth entered the battleground with her troops, solemnly awaiting the spanish armada to grace the horizon and initiate the battle on the top of the hill and gave her following speech :
Considering the fact that the speech was held in a place filled with worry and despair, Elizabeth managed to, through her short speech unit (one united force=personification which helps her convey her meaning more effectively and her aim more clear) the people to fight for victory , no matter the cost, thus we can say that she invigorated the people, which she managed to do through persuasion, amplification, juxtaposition, diction, imagery and repetition making the people believe as if Elizabeth is foreseeing England's victory already.
She uses positive diction, aimed at her people such as “faithful” and “loving,” praising their “loyalty” and “goodwill.” These positive words allow the people to see her as a caring, kind leader whose praise urges them to fight for their country. She also uses the words “noble” and “worthy” to make the people feel as if it is their duty to fight for the country as well as intimately connect them with the battle.
Another reason to the use of this positive diction, being “My loving people” (Line 1&5), Elizabeth affectionately catches the audience's attention and, thus giving them a clear view of who she is aiming the speech to, being England and its people. Good to mention, in that day in Tilbury, the protagonist were the english troops and of course the Antagonist (She also uses diction, but negative ones aimed at the enemy such as , “treachery,” “blood,” “dishonor,” “foul,” and “scorn.” , to amplify who is the antagonist in the speech) being the Spanish, thus her wanting to invigorate the troops the most, for she stood by them there in her dashing metal armor on her horse side by side to show how willing she was to fight for England.
She also established a common ground with the troops as well, she got down off from her royal throne to show that she is just like the soldier that will fight by their sides through using the royal plural “We” not only in this first paragraph, but throughout the complete speech. The pathos like arguments and diction assure the people that Elizabeth is just as emotionally connected with them in that houred time as well as instills a sense of nationalism amongst them all.
Now the speech is at a point of which Elizabeth, as the royal queen of England has empowered England and assured them more confidence . Elizabeth gives her complete faith to them, which shows how dedicated (In contrast to her using "We", she also adds "Myself" several times to emphasis her dedication for the country.) shows no sorts of fear towards the antagonist in the speech, (let tyrants fear) which the people respect her for doing so and continue to support and remain loyal to her. This gives the people the feeling that they, even if they do not have a royal power, still have equal amount of power to protect their homeland. She gave them the full capability and made the people understand that their power is more than it seems to be.
She also expressed her capability as their leader through juxtaposition by these words “I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a king of England” where she juxtaposes her weak and feeble body to her heart and stomach that of a king (showing that she is just as capable to win this war with England as any king in the world), thus she puts herself higher than the sexism in that time as well.
Elizabeth inserts her own authority and power over the country and its militia through her imagery, portraying herself as a fragile woman who has been hardened in the course of the war for her nation. She also asserts her position as their leader when she says, “I myself will be you general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field.”
Phrases such as “in the midst and heat of the battle,” and “my blood, even in the dust: make the battles importance significantly higher and gives the battle a more harsh appearance then it had before, making the troops to want to gain the victory sooner to pass this negative time as soon as possible.
"and think foul scorn that Parma or Spain" Elizabeth Alludes to the political situation of the time, which would have been well known by the english people.
The repetition of the words “God” and “My country and kingdom and people” builds an increased sense of patriotism in the people, also separating England's belief/religion being protestant from all the other religions and other protestant countries and gods spreading more honour and nationalistic vibe amongst the audience, giving the country a higher value, meaning and status, making them more proud of their country, thus more willing to fight for it and its survival/victory.
Conclusion as well as last paragraph :
The final persuasion is given here, where Elizabeth promises “Rewards and crowns” to those that willingly would fight for England. Now she has changed the structure of her sentences using “You” instead for it to seem as if she is speaking to each and every soldier personally, creating a relation with them all which with the trust, the royal faith, nationalism and material rewards at the end fully convinces the troops of the country and the speech resulted to give the troops a valuable cause for them to stand strong through the battle making the soldiers idea of dying in the battleground more comfortable.